Reflections

MIA (aka “Out of the Loop”)…

How long does something need to be missing from your life before you notice it’s gone? How long does it take you to identify that missing element? Can you even identify it?

Just curious, I guess. Lately I’ve been experiencing that a lot.

I walked into my craft room the other day, and noticed a gaping hole on a display shelf. I stopped to wonder what might have been there…? I mean, clearly something else must have sat there, else why would the one other item on the shelf be sitting off to one side? Or am I missing something obvious here…?

I have a shelf of broken and forgotten toys at work, gathered over my 13+ years there, and including some that predate even me. I noticed a similar “hole” on that shelf recently. But I absolutely cannot imagine what used to sit there!

My daughter was in serious crisis the weekend before Thanksgiving. It dragged into days… then weeks. She is attempting to reconstruct her life around new principles and priorities now. Yesterday, someone thought to ask me how she was doing with that. My response?

“I have no idea…”

“How can you have no idea?!,” she asked with incredulity.

Hmm… good question, so I pondered for a moment.

“I guess I’m just out of the loop these days,” I answered finally. “She doesn’t report to me, and we only talk when I see her once a week. But then the kids are there…”

A co-worker asked me about something work related yesterday (damned if I remember what – lol!), and my response was “I have no idea.” When she went on to question me about it, I learned something else I didn’t know! She just stared at me like I’d lost my mind, and I merely laughed, pointing out the obvious fact that I was clearly “out of the loop.”

And frankly, I don’t seem to mind…

Working the floor, dealing with customers a lot this time of year. And over the last week or so I’ve been pressed for things we haven’t carried in years. All things I remember having… once. But no more. “Sorry” is all I can offer. Why the sudden fascination with things long gone, things I wouldn’t even know we’re missing unless someone asked?

And so it goes, day in and day out. A monotony of dim colors with an occasional splash of brilliant sparkle, rapidly lost to memory. I not only feel detached from reality, but actually distanced from it, as though none of it is real anymore. My thoughts aren’t even present anymore, spinning as they are around long forgotten memories suddenly resurfacing in my conscious mind. Memories that seem to lack both purpose and significance. Memories that make me wonder why I’m even bothering…?

And all I can “hear” when I question all this is “I’m out of the loop…”

Missing in action…

And I didn’t even know…

So… how long has it been? How long did it take me to realize this?!

Ahhh, time. The loopiest of life’s loops!

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Visions

Completion…

and so I stood there, back to the ocean, waiting for that wave to topple and drown me. I did not flinch, nor did I try to move away. Which is not to say I was not afraid, for clearly I was. But it was not fear that rooted me in place, nor courage in defying that fear; rather it was determination, and stubbornness, a desire to see this vision through to completion. I wanted to know whatever the ocean jasper would reveal…

And to my surprise, the wave did not topple me at all!

I watched and felt, awestruck, as the full force of that wave funneled through my chest, blasting open a hole large enough to allow all that water through without resistance. It pooled rapidly around my feet, rising as an incoming tide. The spray of our encounter misted me, melding with the sweet and salty tears flowing down my cheeks. A pressure began to build behind my forehead and in my belly, pushing for release, until small cracks appeared, allowing the water more exit space. Rainbows formed around me in the abundance of ocean spray.

And the water continued to rise…

There was a moment, before I was submerged, in which all the pieces came together. I felt the solidity of the earth beneath my feet, where shifting sands met solid stone. I felt the sun upon my face and skin, warming me from within. I felt the winds of change whip through my hair, euphoric and invigorating. And then the water claimed me.

As it always does…

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Essay, Reflections

Surrender…?

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes you have to lose big before you can win. Sometimes you have to let go before you can move forward. And sometimes, you have to surrender before you can be empowered.

I learned that mostly through getting sober in a 12 step group. Being a stubborn lass, I often push myself well beyond my limits, convinced that “if I give up now, I will never get back in the game.” And too often, that has proven to be true.

But there occasionally comes a time when I know I can’t continue, when there is simply not enough left in the tanks or the reserves to carry on. There are times when the battle, for survival or supremacy, simply isn’t worth it anymore. And times when even my wild imagination cannot fantasize a happy outcome, no matter how bizarre and impossible I allow the parameters for “success” to become. The question is knowing when that is…

Hello, Time, my ever present nemesis…”

Because letting go of something that isn’t working (at the right time) may ennable you to notice opportunities you would otherwise have missed; aka the other door or window that appears in the vacuum. Or it may allow you to accept help, whether it comes from other people, some Divine influence, or a quirk of fate. It certainly forces you to re-evaluate your place and your priorities, perhaps leading you to more realistic and attainable victories. Such re-orientation brings new strength to bear in the struggle, new hope, new goals to pursue. It reinvigorates the life you are presently living, however diminished that might be from the one you were pursuing…

But giving up too soon is a cop out, a failure, a loss of momentum; it makes you a quitter, rather than a winner, no matter how successful your “lesser” life becomes. Surrendering too early makes you weaker rather than stronger, presenting as a failure of will rather than an unwinnable contest. It creates a sand pit, a muckhole full of regret and “what if’s” hungry to suck you in at your first hesitation during any subsequent efforts. It is a loss from which you never truly recover…

So, how do you know where that line is? How do you figure out the timing of any surrender? Do you just push on, bruised and broken, until your only coherent thought is “enough, already!”? Or do you push on after that, preferring to err on the side of trying too hard, rather than quitting too soon? Do you literally press on until death drops you while still in harness? (Romantic thought, yes, but unrealistic, as the body usually stops functioning well before death actually comes to claim it.)

I was watching a show the other day, some apolcalyptic, end of the world scenario, where different factions fought about the best way to save the world. And as those “in power” argued amongst themselves trying to one-up each other, a doomsday cult grew up among the common people. The common folk accepted the inevitable end of humanity, seeking love and comfort from each other, while dreaming of how some other form of life (better than the plague that humans have become) would one day rise up to take our place.

Sound familiar?…

But then some renegade science geeks found a way to possibly save humanity, risking all to fight against the powers that be to achieve their vision of possible survival. And just when it seemed they might have succeeded, against all odds, the doomsday cult interceded with an act of terrorism to destroy that fragile hope, and the miracle device they built. Apparently, having accepted the inevitable end, having properly surrendered and found peace, they could not now accept that such an end might not occur. And so they acted out to make sure it would…

Have we, as a species (the masses, not the elites), surrendered our “power” too soon?

That’s the question haunting me today. For I believe I have accepted that humanity, or society anyway (as it is currently structured), is doomed; it simply cannot be saved. Nor do I believe it should be. Too much damage done over too many centuries, too many repeated failures and mistakes, too much proof that “good” can never truly triumph over the “evil” that rules. So, like many others, I wait for the inevitable end, the collapse of society as we know it.

But that end never seems to come, does it?

I mean, all the indicators are there – climate change, mass extinctions, vastly disproportionate allocation of resources, constant discord, increasing violence, an absolute refusal by those in power to change course, and an inability for the common folk to make them. Doomsday cults are a dime a dozen, and the major religions all seem to be preaching “end of days” scenarios. Countless apocalyptic dates have come (and passed), and more are predicted ahead. Most people seem to agree the “end is coming”; it’s really just a matter of when…

And yet…

And yet we keep on keeping on, limping through each day crippled but not dead. Individuals and entire species die off, while new individuals are born and live. Microscopic life forms are thriving (at the expense of others, of course). The sun rises each day on a planet more polluted than the day before. The moon transits through her phases, bearing witness to growing sorrows. But life, and more importantly here, society, continues. Why?!

I believed people who said the economy would collapse. I believed those who said humanity would turn on and destroy itself. But it hasn’t happened. Yet. And that’s a problem for someone like me. Why?

Because every day is a struggle. Because I want nothing more than to lay down my “coping tools” and give up. And I suspect I’m not the only one. But we can’t do that. Not really. Because if we give up too soon, we will only increase our suffering, but not speed up our relief. We won’t die, at least not right away. And while we wait for that, we will lose everything we are barely holding onto now.

I, personally, don’t like how it feels to be homeless and hungry. I’ve been there (long ago), when I was stronger and more physically capable, but I was still miserable. I can’t even fathom going through that now! So I continue to drag myself to work, day after day, juggling bills I can’t actually pay off, waiting expectantly for the day when these struggles become meaningless. But that day never actually comes…

I watch people I love struggle the same way, knowing how little I can do to actually alleviate their pain, because I have none of the resources that might actually help them. And I know they feel the same. I’m starting to feel just a tad bit envious of every death I learn about, knowing they, at least, have escaped. It’s getting to the point where I’m no longer sure if the “grief” I experience, the tears I cry, are to honor those who’ve passed, or to lament the fact that I haven’t!

And those doomsday predictors have all had to “walk back” their predictions, claiming now that we will not pass from this place with a boom and a flash, but with a whimper and a slow rotting away. Maybe in my lifetime, or maybe three generations away! The end, however inevitable it may seem, is not necessarily imminent…

“Time, my old enemy, you have a wicked and cruel sense of humor!”

Is giving up even an option anymore? Is there any chance that surrender could hasten the end of this war? It doesn’t seem that way to me, but perhaps I’m missing something here. Please feel free to enlighten me…

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Poetry, Reflections

“A Body Without Boundaries…”

A body without boundaries

an existence without end

bleeding through and exploring

a variety of dimensions.

Meditation leads to dozing

and dozing to dreams;

dreams roll over again

into conscious reality.

But there is little to distinguish

these separate states of Being

other than the transitions

time spent in between…

Where Change is

the only noticeable Constant

the movement, the action

passive seeming dynamic.

Reaching out to Others

merging and blending

influence wrought not through force

but adapting.

And suddenly I know

why the walls were so solid

the ego so strong

the identity so crucial:

for Water without boundaries

is a much muted force

no strength to blast obstacles

and so easily absorbed.

Soaking in unobtrusively

embracing, becoming

One experiencing An’Other

defining Entanglement.

Until no boundary exists

empathy in its truest sense

with only a tingling and a feeling

in the transitions between.

Is this then the goal?

To be vague like a ghost?

Misty mornings, and rings around moons

shapeshifting clouds in midsummer blues?

No limits, no forms

no lofty hopes;

just being, in this moment

nebula adrift in the cosmos…?

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Reflections

Come-Uppance…

In my self-empowered beliefs, I laid down ultimatums. And deadlines. And requirements of any proofs purporting to lead to truth. And the Universe just laughed at me.

At my arrogance and greed…

Time simply dissolved around me, like a bad joke. For it was never meant to construct reality, merely to frame it so that it would be easier to perceive. In the moment. The priceless, precious experience of Now.

And sitting here in my safety net, watching the world deconstruct in front of me, I see. I see how much of what I’ve accomplished is a mockery of All-That-Is. Viewing All with dispassion, but not a total lack of empathy. For there is feeling here as well…

There is validation for the seeking that led me here, a knowing that, though misguided occasionally, my momentum and direction carried the day…

There is embarrasment, even shame, in watching others flounder on their misguided way. I shouldn’t be enjoying this, and yet I am. “I told you so…,” teeters on the edge of my lips, and only the discipline of many regrets prevents them from tumbling out.

There is awareness of how my greatest gift – time magic – is nothing more than fallacy. A wasted effort, and useless in the ever-present Now.

Yet there is strength in embracing who I am. All of me! In wisdom and in love. For I am all that and nothing more, and there is peace in accepting that…

I am Here Now. I am space and time combined. I am the weaving and the thread, and the pattern thus designed. And I am also the loom upon which All This is created. And the chaos that unravels it…

This is my legacy…

My Truth…

My come-uppance…

And I can only laugh!

Hysterically…

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Poetry

“The Hourglass…”

The hourglass is flipped

a new period begins

with all the promise and excitement

that such newness always brings…

The sand starts to fall

immediately

a little pile forming

in the space known as “potential”…

[WAIT! I’m not ready yet!]

The pile grows taller and broader

spreading out

claiming most of the floor

of its newest glass home…

Like a disease of spirit

an imminent threat

“Hurry up!,” it warns me

“before you get swallowed…”

[WAIT! I’m not ready yet!]

But Time waits for no one

not even me

Racing always forward

like a river to the sea…

Slipping through our fingers

restricted only by the neck

No respect for age, nor wisdom

only temporarily controlled by glass…

[STOP!!! JUST STOP!!! I’VE HAD ENOUGH!]

And so it does…

Staring at the hourglass, watching the sand

one grain at a time, to see where they land…

They fall in formation, drawing loose patterns

Designs lost when the others reach out and then cover…

But I see them falling now, grain by soft grain

creating a wave of abrasives

to obliterate what I’ve seen…

[You may continue; I’m ready now…]

The sands resume falling

regaining their pace

Rapidly filling

that formerly empty space…

Potential takes shape now

a dune spread at the base

a pyramid built

of patterns stacked on promises…

And I’ve taken a stance now

I’ve made myself clear:

I will NOT be erased

now that my time is here!

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Essay

Ignorance May Be Bliss…

but ignorance of how ignorant we are may be causing much of our conflict…

I just read an interesting article about the Dunning-Kruger Effect. It describes a common form of confirmation bias in which it isn’t so much what we don’t know that is the problem, but the overestimation of what we think we do know that is… That made an incredible amount of sense to me.

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of confirmation bias to one extent or another. I know I am. Whether it’s in our perceptive bias (selective perception that primarily notices what we expect to find), our cognitive bias (more readily accepting as “fact” what we already believe to be true), or emotional bias (interpreting events to fit our current mood), we all shape reality according to pre-conceived notions. It’s simply how we are constructed. Our brains make connections based on connections already established; if it fits, it sticks. But what happens when you don’t know that you don’t know something? Worse yet, you don’t actually know something you think you do?!

Chaos rules…

How many others here have found themselves (recently!) shaking their head in bewilderment at something someone else said or did? I don’t mean simple confusion, or disbelief, but a deep-down, profound sense of wtf?! I can hear your thoughts here as clearly as my own, that moment when your inner dialogue sounds like this:

“Really?! Like seriously?! You didn’t just [say/do] that, did you?!”

The actions of the person we are interacting with are simply incomprehensible to us! We cannot even imagine…

THAT moment is a Dunning-Kruger moment… Either the person we are dealing with is downright delusional about reality, or we are. Either way, someone truly doesn’t grasp their own ignorance about the matter at hand.

I know I’m guilty of being on both sides of that equation. I recently heard myself “lecturing” my co-workers about something I strongly believed to be true. I sensed the resistance of at least one in the room, though she chose not to challenge me. The others all radiated validation my way, except one who chose to question my biases. It was then I heard myself admit, “of course, these are all just my opinion; there is no logical reason for you to accept them as anything else. I know I sound like I know what I’m talking about, but that’s just the confidence with which I express all my viewpoints you hear. I could be wrong. And if you can show me where I’m wrong, I’m more than willing to listen…”

The conversation moved on to other things after that. But that memory stuck with me. “Arrogance” is a word often used to describe me, and I can’t honestly deny it, though I would prefer to mute it. More like confident in my intelligence, my ability to grasp both abstract and actual “truths,” and make reasonable, sensible connections between them. But I understand that my basic premises may be wrong, that my intellectual bias may be leading me astray, that I may not have my “facts” straight at all. But to have to add that qualification to every “point” I make in a discussion makes any such debate cumbersome at best, pointless at worst. For how can we “learn” anything, if every sentence we utter begins with “I may not know what I’m talking about, but…”

Much better, in my opinion, to have someone challenge my assertions, point out where I’ve led myself astray. If your facts, reason, logic, or bias makes more sense after questioning, then I have no problem adjusting my point of view to be more in alignment with yours; I am quite capable of admitting I am “wrong” and you are “right.”

But if no one ever challenges me…? Or if those who do have nothing more to offer than insults and insistence on their own point of view, regardless of any contradictions or alternative ideas I might challenge them with…?

Then no true exchange of views, no “learning,” is possible. Right? Or am I missing something obvious here? Lol!

I’m not sure what the solution might be. I’m not even sure a solution exists! I can’t actually think for someone else, any more than I can make decisions about what might be best for them. But I can better discipline myself, and my own thought patterns. And I think it’s time to make a conscious effort to do so.

So, for a time anyway, I’m going to make a effort to add those annoying, cumbersome qualifiers to any discussion I have about “reality.” Maybe I won’t say them out loud all the time (since some already resent the number of words I use to express my point of view – lol!), but to myself, at least. While conversing with these people who make me want to tear my hair out in frustration, I will continuously repeat the mantra:

Ignorance may be bliss, but ignorance of my ignorance is not going to exacerbate this!

Or, in simpler, less verbiose terms…

I could be wrong here…

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